On Friday, March 17, The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology will host renowned writer, scholar, and activist Dr. Cornel West as the featured artist for the fourth annual Alumni Lecture Series.

The Seattle School’s Office of Students & Alumni established the Alumni Lecture Series in 2014, creating an annual space in which our alumni host an artist whose body of work offers a taste of hope and, therefore, a call to us all. “The Alumni Lecture Series is offered by The Seattle School in honor of our alumni, who lead our school’s mission beyond our walls and into the middle of humanity’s pain, joy, catastrophe, wonder, and suffering,” says Paul Steinke, Vice President of Student & Alumni Development and Field Abbot at The Seattle School. Past featured artists for this series have included authors David James Duncan and Belden Lane, as well as singer-songwriters Over the Rhine.

This year’s event, presented in partnership with The Well, includes two gatherings, both on March 17. From 4:00-6:00pm, Dr. West will lead an intimate workshop for advocates and ministers entitled Love as Prophetic Witness. Then, from 7:00-8:30pm, Dr. West will return for Art as Resistance, an event exploring the music that both roots and ignites his presence in the world. A core tradition of the Alumni Lecture Series is inviting one of our alumni to engage the featured artist and the work he or she presents; this year, Tom Ryan (Master of Divinity, ‘07) will join Dr. West in a conversation about his life, his work, and the music that has shaped both. Tickets are available for each event individually or for the series as a whole. You can learn more about Love as Prophetic Witness and Art as Resistance on our event calendar.

TIME Magazine once wrote that Dr. Cornel West is “one complex dude: brilliant scholar, political activist, committed Christian and soul brother to the bone.” This combination of faith, action, and scholarship resonates profoundly with the mission of The Seattle School, where we train people to be competent in the study of text, soul, and culture in order to serve God and neighbor through transforming relationships.

Dr. West is Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard University and holds the title of Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. He has also taught at Union Theological Seminary, Yale, Harvard, and the University of Paris. Dr. West graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard and obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy at Princeton. He has written 20 books, including Race Matters, Democracy Matters, and his memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud. His most recent book, Black Prophetic Fire, offers an unflinching look at 19th and 20th-century African American leaders and their visionary legacies. Dr. West has also made three spoken word albums and has collaborated with artists such as Terence Blanchard, Bootsy Collins, Raheem DeVaughn, Gerald Levert, Prince, and Jill Scott. Dr. West remains fiercely committed to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.—inviting people from all walks of life to tell the truth and to bear witness to love and justice.

Dr. West’s voice is both provocative and vital, and this year’s Alumni Lecture Series is sure to be a galvanizing, thought-provoking event. You can register for the Love as Prophetic Witness afternoon workshop here, and for the evening event, Art as Resistance, here.